During the GESI program in Uganda, the intern’s motivation to apply was driven by a strong passion for community-driven sustainable development initiatives. They aimed to create a positive impact and gain practical experience in addressing challenges faced by underserved communities. The project’s primary objective was the economic empowerment of the Lukolo farming community through a village saving and loans association (VSLA) approach and improved water access through irrigation to enable out-of-season farming and increase agricultural yield.

The project was able to address the irrigation needs of the farmers by utilizing an existing water spring previously built by the farmers as part of a previous FSD intern’s project. Our water irrigation system accessed fresh groundwater through the spring, which was then directed through long water pipes to a standing water stand using a diesel-powered generator. The portability of the generator and water pipes allowed the farmers to share the water pump system amongst each other and easily move it around to water their crops effectively. The project is supporting the farmers by utilizing run off water from the existing project of a past GESI intern of a protected community spring, thus water is now used for both accessing clean water for household use and irrigation purposes to support out of season farming in the village.

To ensure the sustainability of the project, the intern and their team conducted a one-week-long intensive training with the local farmers to inculcate entrepreneurial and leadership skills in the farmers and teach them the village saving and loan association (VSLA) approach. At the end of the training, a core committee of local farmers was formed, consisting of a Chairperson, Treasurer, Secretary, and other members, who took responsibility for monitoring the project and ensuring its longevity in the future. Through this VSLA, farmers are now able to pool together their resources and loan them out to each other to improve their agricultural output, take up new income generation activities, and invest in other things such as healthcare and education for their children.

Additionally, the training also aimed to familiarize the farmers with the water irrigation system, its operation, and maintenance. Through the successful implementation of the water irrigation system, the project addressed the community’s need for reliable and adequate water access to enable out-of-season agriculture for economic strengthening. We hope this improves the farmers’ agricultural output, providing food security and economic empowerment as they will now be able to sell surplus crops in the local market. By fostering sustainable agricultural practices, the project promoted long-term development in the Lukolo Village.

Future participants and donors can support the project by providing financial contributions for system maintenance and expansion, technical expertise, or by engaging in capacity-building initiatives. For example, future projects can continue the economic empowerment of the community by holding training in different enterprises such as shoemaking or sewing that would enable the farmers to diversify their income. Future donors can continue investing in the project to empower the Lukolo Village community to keep benefiting from improved water access and sustainable agricultural practices, fostering long-term development.

In conclusion, the intern’s work during the GESI program in Uganda made a significant impact on the lives of farmers in the Lukolo Village by improving water access through an innovative water generation system. The project’s emphasis on community involvement and capacity-building, including the one-week training sessions, formation of a core committee, and drafting of a constitution ensured that the project would be sustained long-term.

As a result, the Lukolo Village community is now better equipped to manage their water resources and pursue sustainable agriculture, contributing to their economic growth and overall well-being.

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